Date: April 23rd, 1964

Geography: United States

Culture: Austrian; Jewish

Medium: White charcoal and Black charcoal.

Dimensions: 16’ by 24’

Classification: Charcoal Drawing

Credit Line: The piece is currently housed at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art as part of the Testimony exhibit. The work on loan from Miriam Friedman the artist’s daughter who owns most of Mr. Friedman’s work.


This piece depicts a Jewish man moments before execution during the Holocaust. The drawing manages to both unsettle and captivate the viewer through stark and simplistic yet effective techniques. Mr. Friedman uses no color, moreover, very little detail is defined forcing the viewer’s eye to the detail in the man’s face and hands which are raised in surrender. Furthermore, the proportion in the face is distorted, an effective visual cue to unsettle the viewer. In utilizing these techniques the artist portrays definitively the horror of his experience while demanding both attention and consideration from the viewer.

Recommended Reading:

Ellie Weisel’s Night is a concise stark account of the Holocaust that mirrors the concise nature of Mr. Friedman’s work. Both creators are survivors of the Holocaust and the similarities in expression through their chosen mediums is indicative of the shared experience.

Holocaust survivor David Friedman’s OU exhibition depicts heroic resilience by Doug Hill (Norman Transcript) provides a background on the exhibit and the life experiences of Mr. Friedman.

Lauren Lyness
The University of Oklahoma 
February 5th, 2019